Donald Trump signed a new executive order on Tuesday, outlining a plan to roll back Barack Obama's core legislative regulations against climate change passed under his presidency, The New York Times reports. The new order is being celebrated by the White House as a step towards energy independence and a way to restore coal industry jobs that have been lost in the last decade.
The “Energy Independence” executive order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to begin dismantling the Clean Power Plan, a crucial part of Obama's climate change policy that aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The order also lifts a short-term ban on coal mining on public lands.
The new executive order makes no mention of the United States's participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement, an accord that committed 195 nations to reducing emissions that alter the climate. Some experts believe that the U.S. will be unable to meet the terms of the agreement if Trump's order is enacted.
Many have also pointed out that Trump's stated goals — job growth and energy independence — will be unaffected by the new order. The U.S. already relies on domestic sources for coal and natural gas to fuel power plants and the decline in the coal jobs is largely due to mechanization and the low cost of natural gas.